The wider use of visualization and visual analytics in wide ranging fields has led to the need for visual analytics capabilities to be legally admissible, especially when applied to digital forensics. This brings the need to consider legal implications when performing visual analytics, an issue not traditionally examined in visualization and visual analytics techniques and research. While digital data is generally admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence , a comprehensive validation of the digital evidence is considered prudent. A comprehensive validation requires validation
of the digital data under rules for authentication, hearsay, best evidence rule, and privilege. Additional issues with digital data arise when exploring digital data related to admissibility and the validity of what information was examined, to what extent, and whether the analysis process was sufficiently covered by a search
warrant. For instance, a search warrant generally covers very narrow requirements as to what law enforcement is allowed to examine and acquire during an investigation. When searching a hard drive for child pornography, how admissible is evidence of an unrelated crime, i.e. drug dealing. This is further complicated by the concept of "in plain view". When performing an analysis of a hard drive what would be considered "in plain view" when analyzing a hard drive. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the issues of digital forensics and the related issues as they apply to visual analytics and identify how visual analytics techniques fit into the digital forensics analysis process, how visual analytics techniques can improve the legal admissibility of digital data, and identify what research is needed to further improve this process. The goal of this paper is to open up consideration of legal ramifications among the visualization
community; the author is not a lawyer and the discussions are not meant to be inclusive of all differences in laws between states and countries.